Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Stall Catchers citizen science game to host its first international “Catchathon”

By July 10th, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Comment

If you’re familiar with “hackathons” – intense hacking marathons, or “mapathons” – mapping parties commonly held by mappers worldwide, the term “catchathon” might be starting to make some sense by now. If not – read on. There’s a marathon of Alzheimer’s citizen science coming on July 22nd, and you can be part of it! Read the rest of this entry »

The Science of Hidden Connections

By May 31st, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Comment

New and exponentially increasing amounts of biomedical research can yield valuable insight into rare diseases, cures, devices, procedures, and more. This growth, however, can sometimes overwhelm scientists and the public alike: the amount of scientific research published in 2014 was more than triple the amount published in 1990, and this trend continues today. While this research has the potential to lead to valuable, lifesaving insights, it is not only hard for scientists to keep up and difficult for the average citizen to understand, but it is almost impossible to implement. There’s just too much…. or is there? Read the rest of this entry »

Global Mosquito Alert: UN Backed Citizen Science Platform to Fight Mosquito-Borne Diseases

By May 16th, 2017 at 11:18 am | Comment

With the summer approaching, so are the mosquitoes. Now a UN-backed global platform will align citizen scientists from around the world to track and control these disease-carrying species.

By Yujia He

Mosquitoes are an annoying and unavoidable part of the warmer season. Their constant buzzing follows you whenever you step outside of your house, and the females feast on your blood to produce their offspring.

In many parts of the world, mosquitoes bring not just annoyance but also disease and death. Globally mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and malaria kill 250,000 people a month, compared to 130,000 deaths from all forms of violence. Citizens tracking and controlling mosquitoes are on the frontline of our fight against such diseases. A UN-backed new initiative, Global Mosquito Alert, will empower these local citizen scientists to collect, process and share data about mosquitoes on a global scale.

Female Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main type of mosquito that spread Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and other viruses. Author: James Gathany. Source: Wikipedia Commons

As the first global citizen science mosquito monitoring platform, Global Mosquito Alert will bring together scientists and volunteers from around the world to share real-time local citizen-generated data. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) maintains the centralized platform Environmental Live that provides open data to policy makers, researchers and the general public. Data will come from a consortium of providers in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Currently the consortium includes Globe Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper (U.S./International), Invasive mosquito project (U.S.), Muggenradar (Netherlands), Mosquito Alert (Spain), ZanzaMapp (Italy), MosquitoWEB (Portugal), and CitizenScience.Asia (Hong Kong/Asia). At a workshop convening national/local project teams in Geneva in April, organized by the UNEP, the Wilson Center’s Science and Tech Innovation Program (STIP), and the European Citizen Science Association, participants have agreed to work towards a standardized protocol of citizen science monitoring to enable data sharing and analysis.

Citizens interested in mosquito monitoring can use simple tools to generate and report data to national/local citizen science projects. For instance, the Invasive mosquito project, based in the U.S., recruits volunteers to use no more than brown paper towels and dark-colored plastic party cups to collect data on mosquito eggs around their homes.

The Mosquito Alert project, based in Spain, asks volunteers to use a smartphone app to snap pictures of the mosquito or the breeding site and send them via the app. Kids and students can also participate following the project protocols including the safety instructions. In the long and leisurely summer months ahead, such an educational experience from participating in citizen science projects could be very appealing to our young future scientists.

“Global Mosquito Alert” will contribute to our understanding of the local and global distribution of mosquito species and habitats, where existing open data from government sources is still limited in both the species diversity and the geographical scope. For instance, the CDC website provides only the potential range of Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti, the two Zika-carrying mosquito species within the United States. Enhanced data availability and accuracy will enable better and faster response and thus mitigate the risks of mosquito-borne diseases.

In addition, the platform will pool together the data, knowledge and experience of existing projects for use by citizen science groups, allowing for more streamlined project implementation and community response at lower cost. As the Director of Science at UN Environment, Jacqueline McGlade, said, the platform is “a unique infrastructure that is open for all to use and may be augmented with modular components and implemented on a range of scales to meet local and global research and management needs.” It will “offer the benefit of the millions spent in developing existing mosquito monitoring projects to local citizen science groups around the world.”

“Global Mosquito Alert” welcomes participation from citizen science mosquito monitoring projects around the world. If you would like to sign up for the initiative, please contact Anne Bowser or Eleonore Pauwels.


Yujia He is a Research Assistant in the Science and Technology Innovation Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

Help accelerate biomedical research from the comfort of your couch

By April 27th, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Comment

No scalpel required!
Learn how to identify images of clogged blood vessels to accelerate Alzheimer’s research or trace 3D images of neurons to shed light on how these structures influence behavior.
SciStarter’s editors hand-picked five, biomedical research projects we think you’ll love. You can do these free projects and contribute to research all from the comfort of home!
Find more projects and events on SciStarter, to do now or bookmark for later.
Bonus: Complete your SciStarter profile this month and we’ll send you a free digital copy of The Rightful Place of Science: Citizen Science.
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

EyesOnALZ
Speed up Alzheimer’s research simply by clicking on video images that show clogged (or “stalled”) blood vessels. Scientists think stalled blood flow may contribute to Alzheimer’s and they need your help to identify stalls in short videos of (real!) ultrasound images. All ages are welcome to participate. You’ll view a brief tutorial before you get started.
Location: Online

The Biomedical Citizen Science Hub (CitSciBio)
Find and share biomedical citizen science resources through the National Institute of Health-supported CitSciBio. This hub is your source for resources, projects, references, methods and communities about biomedical citizen science research.
Location: Online 

Mozak: Brainbuilder
Humans still outperform computers at identifying complex shapes like neurons. Simply trace 3D images of brain neurons (on your computer) to shed light on how neuron structure influences brain function. Since Mozak launched in November, citizen scientists (like you!) have reconstructed neurons 3.6 times faster than earlier methods!
Location: Online

Mark2CureIf you can read, you can help. With Mark2Cure you are trained to identify scientific concepts and mark, or annotate, those concepts in scientific literature. Help scientists find information they need to solve complex problems.
Location: Online

Citizen Endo
Help improve the medical field’s understanding of endometriosis symptoms on daily life. You can participate (with or without endometriosis) by tracking your daily experiences using the Phendo app.
Location: Online

Celebrate Citizen Science Days through May 20th!
More than 100 events are listed on SciStarter. From BioBlitzes, to trainings, to hack-a-thons, there’s an event near you.
 

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Gaming Competition Supports Alzheimer’s Research

By April 18th, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Comment

By Egle Marija Ramanauskaite, Citizen Science Coordinator at EyesOnALZ


Stall Catchers
– a citizen science game by the EyesOnALZ project, has just introduced a team feature and is running a team competition to #CrushALZ. The competition has kicked-off during the #CrowdCloudLIVE hangout following the premiere of The Crowd & The Cloud documentary on citizen science on April 6th.

In Stall Catchers, participants analyze movies of a live mouse brain to identify “stalls” – blocked capillaries where blood is not flowing. Immediately after the kick-off, Stall Catchers players hit all previous records, with more than 3 thousand vessels analyzed in the first 4 hours of the competition, which climbed to 13 thousand at the end of Day 1. This amount would take weeks to analyze in the lab! Read the rest of this entry »